[cc-licenses] Advertising issues

Per I. Mathisen per at leftist.net
Tue Jan 10 15:02:41 EST 2006

On Tue, 10 Jan 2006, Christian Fredrik Kalager Schaller wrote:
> I think that the non-commercial option is the biggest mistake CC ever
> made, it is just to wide reaching and greyzone.

I agree.

There is a particular problem here for non-commercial content that is
distributed digitally on a general purpose computer. The idea behind the
NC license is to prevent someone else from profiting commercially from
your creation and still allow people to distribute it for any other
reason. Yet once you allow people to host it freely on the internet, all
such restrictions can easily be circumvented.

You cannot prohibit a program from using resources available on the
internet. For example, Internet Explorer is not prohibited from displaying
a web page copyrighted under the CC NC license. Photoshop is not
prohibited from loading a downloaded image under the CC NC. And so on.
Also who is running these programs is of no relevance to copyright law.

So if you want to make, say, a commercial computer game and wish to use
content under the CC NC, this is no more difficult than to download the
desired resources from whereever they are hosted on the internet during
installation. The computer game maker (a commercial entity) is not the one
distributing the NC content, and so does not fall afoul of the NC license.

A case in point is the MS web fonts, which could be distributed freely
under an NC-like license. (Most) Linux distributions cannot (or dare not)
distribute them, but you can install a package that runs a script which
downloads the fonts from some web page somewhere that has them and then
installs the fonts. (http://corefonts.sourceforge.net/)

The point is that the NC licenses are not just bad because the scope of
their protection is unclear - in many cases the protection offered is
pretty much illusory.

IANAL, though.

  - Per

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